Nine years isn’t a true championship drought. After witnessing the Chicago Cubs and Cleveland Cavaliers end outrageously long stretches with zero championships last year, Philadelphia still has 2008 to hang its hat on.
But with four major sports teams — all of them expected to fallwell short of title contention this season, we decided it might be fun to examine which team — the Sixers, Flyers, Phillies or Eagles — was most likely to next hoist a trophy.
We took into account five main factors:
Young talent — Players who arerookies,prospects
Core players — Anyone who is established and could be a piece for a title-contender
Management — This is the GMs, ownership and decision makers
Competition — How easy is their path, among the landscape of their league?
We rated each on a scale from one to five, with five being the best.Here’s what we came up with (the numbers are the averages of staff votes rounded to the nearest half point):
The Flyers, according to our experts, will be the next team to parade down Broad Street. There are several reasons why. The team is flush with talent: young defensemenin the minor leagues on the verge of breaking through; rookies Ivan Provorov and Travis Konecny already making an impact; and a young cast of characters including Nick Cousins, Shayne Gostisbehere and Sean Couturier.
They alsohave one of the best cores in Philly sports, with Claude Giroux, Wayne Simmonds and Jake Voracek as pieces to build around. There is a lot of parity in the NHL, and the Flyers front office — led by the seemingly visionary Ron Hextall —has shown it can be patent and strategic. Is Steve Mason a Stanley Cup goaltender? That’s likely one of the biggest question marks.
“The team has done a good job acquiring young talent and has done an excellent job in the past of mixing youth and experience,” Metro contributor David DeGrace said.”Whether through free agency or trades, they have always been on the cusp. And with aging superstars on the more dominant teams in the league, they should have the chance to take that mantle.”
The Flyers already have playoff experience — having just made the last postseason — and they have a good chance to do so again. Their window is slowly opening and could be open for a long time. They have the best chance of winning the next title in Philly.
Young talent: 4/5
Core players: 3/5
As the editor here at Metro, and a close follower of our major teams, this one struck me as surprising. But our staff seems to be extremely high on the Phillies’ chances at winning a World Series with the new-look team taking the field again in April.
With core pieces at third base (Maikel Franco), centerfield (Odubel Herrera) and at first base (Tommy Joseph), most of the future title squad is still in the minors. But when you have prospects with household names like J.P. Crawford, Jorge Alfaro, Nick Williams and Dylan Cozens — just to name a few — a big step forward is on the horizon.
“I’d just like to say ‘get ready,'” Cozens, who led all of minor league baseball in homers and RBI in 2016 told Metro during a recent visit to Philadelphia.”Weare good, we are going to have fun and we will be fun to watch.”
There is little doubt the talent is there, but the time frame is open-ended. When will the pieces make it to the big leagues? When will they mesh and start winning baseball games? Is Pete Mackanin the right man to lead the Phils, and is Matt Klentak experienced enough at GM to work well behind the scenes? The future is undoubtedly bright, and the young pitching staff — which hasn’t been mentioned yet — could havethe biggestupside. This team, according to Mackanin, can play .500 baseball in 2017. Which means contention isn’t far behind.
Young talent: 3.5/5
Core players: 3/5
The Sixersboast the most interesting data from the Metro Philly staff, with scores (out of a possible 25) ranging from just nine to 19. Many see Joel Embiid as the future of not only the Sixers’ franchise but of the NBA as a whole. Paired with Ben Simmons, who will make his NBA debut soon and still projects as a potential All-Star, the Sixers have the makings of a dynasty.
A few other current pieces on the team, like Nerlens Noel and Robert Covington, project as role players on a playoff team, but a lot of work still remains. The team will still finish in the lottery in 2017 and will have potentially two top-10 draft picks. Head coach Brett Brown has silenced critics and has shown he can be a teacher and leader of young talent. But Bryan Colangelowill have more pressure, and more riding on his judgment than any other Philly GM. He’ll need to make the right move with Jahlil Okafor, with the massive salary cap room and with upcoming drafts.
With just five players playing at a time, the NBA’s small roster size and style of play emphasizes superstars, and with the 2016-17 Rookie of the Year (yeah we called it already for Embiid) in toe, the team has it’s star. But with LeBron James, Kevin Durant and the current era of superteams, there might be a long wait before it’s the Sixers’ turn.
“As LeBron gets older andmore bored, the East becomes more wide open,” Metro contributor Jon Marks surmised.”But the Celtics seem to be on the verge of taking charge.”
Young talent: 4.5/5
Core players: 3/5
Here we go. I’ll be the first to admit our system for determiningwhich team will win the next title is not iron-clad. But there was near unanimity across the staff in voting for the Eagles dead last among Philly major teams.
Lets list the elite units on the team: the defensive line and the safeties. Lets list the dreadfully bad units: the wide receivers, the running backs, the aging offensive line and the secondary.
We haven’t mentioned Carson Wentz yet. As Metro columnist Glen Macnowmentioned when taking our survey, the young talent grade”if not for Wentz, would be a zero.” The team has very few building blocks, but the one that mattersmost, the quarterback, has been very impressive.
The team will have critical offseasons and drafts ahead and there will be a lot of scrutiny around Doug Pederson as head coach and Howie Roseman as personnel head. Eagles fans don’t have the temperament for failure and back-to-back 7-9 campaigns have their patience wearing thin.
The NFL is the league that has the least certainty. A team can get hot at the right time and run all the way to the Super Bowl with such a small ample size. But the NFC East is stacked and the Eagles will be playing for second place (behind the Cowboys) for the foreseeable future. We won’t say the future is grim, but it isn’t as bright as the other Philly teams either.
Young talent: 3/5
Core players: 3/5